(Looking Back and Looking Forward takes a look at the articles and posts I found interesting from the previous week, along with reflections about how the trends they point to might shape my thinking about education, technology, and culture.)

Concerns about the impact of technology on jobs and employment are one constant of the 21st century.

Presently, this statement is particularly true when it comes to AI. For many, an accurate response to those concerns is that AI might not steal your job, but it could change it. And that’s certainly a reality if you work in an industry that is “language or text-based,” such as the legal profession.

Another area of worker concern is increased automation in warehouses and retail stores. Aware of such fears, Walmart’s US CEO has messaged that, while automation will increase across the company’s operations, workers will not be displaced

More good news on the labor front can be seen in an increase in the number of well-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year college degree. In addition to a surge in gree-energy jobs, it’s also worth noting that the global digital transformation continues to move forward. The increase in global IT spending means even more jobs that only require industry certification (as opposed to a degree).

Returning to the topic of AI, one new and incredibly important skill emerging is the ability to write AI prompts that produce high-quality responses. Here is a detailed explanation, with examples. Indeed, an increasing number of people are already finding ways to use CHatGPT and other generative AI applications to automate tasks and reduce their workloads.

Whiter education, you ask? Well, there are differing opinions on the extent of the change (or revolution), but pretty much everyone agrees that some form of transformation is nigh. Donald Clark asks whether we are on the verge of having a Universal Teacher, while Will Heaven opines that, while ChatGPT is going to change education, it will not destroy it. For further reading, Stephen Downes provides this summary of recent posts/articles about what ChatGPT and generative AI could mean for learning.

Elsewhere in U.S. education, there are a couple of legislative trends worth noting. First, Virginia is looking at loosening the rules around its  529 Savings Plans, allowing funds to be applied to workforce credentials This is further evidence of the expansion of early higher education enrollments expanding into non-degree programs. In addition, at the federal level, there is growing interest in short-term Pell Grants, which would support funding for non-degree certificate programs that can be completed over a reduced period of time (as opposed to a full year or multiple years).

Finally, in the “for what it’s worth” category, there’s a new set of survey results available about student learning preferences. The data and accompanying report address how college students say they learn best in the classroom. Not surprisingly, students find value in, among other things, interactivity and active learning.

Have a great week, everybody!

Further Reading

Higher Education

Survey: How college students say they learn best

Helping Students Climb the Ladder to Economic Mobility

Using customized academic plans to boost student persistence

Colleges deploy new strategies to revive English programs

Legislators want short-term Pell — but can’t agree on the details

K-!2 Education

Virginia May Expand 529 Savings Plans, Allow Funds to Go to Workforce Credentials 

Introduction to the Data Science Process – a Club for the Future and Microsoft Hacking STEM Collaboration

How To Write A Thesis Statement 


Walmart US CEO Says Automation at Stores Won’t Displace Workers

Green energy jobs: Wind tech hiring boom doesn’t require 4-year degree

Worldwide IT Spending to Grow 5.5% in 2023 as Digital Transformation Continues

AI might not steal your job, but it could change it

Online Learning, Learning Design, and Education Technology

Donald Clark Plan B: Are we on the verge of having a ‘Universal Teacher’?

ChatGPT is going to change education, not destroy it

The Learner-Centered Competency-Based Learning Management System

4 Ways to Use ChatGPT to Prepare for Class

What ChatGPT and Generative AI Could Mean for Learning

How do universities achieve learning design maturity? 

AI as a universal education simulator

Turnitin’s solution to AI cheating raises faculty concerns

Technology and Culture

Walmart announces major expansion to EV charging network

5 ChatGPT Hacks I Use Every Day to Reduce My Workload, Example Prompts

AI is entering an era of corporate control

ChatGPT Prompt explained. How to generate a high-quality response

Donald Clark Plan B: Ethics, Experts and AI

How Do You Build A ChatGPT-Powered App?